Kigali – A Rwandan court sentenced former president Pasteur Bizimungu on Monday to 15 years imprisonment for charges that included creating a militia and inciting violence in a country still scarred by the 1994 genocide.

Bizimungu, whose trial began on April 1, was convicted of attempting to form a militia group, inciting violence and embezzlement, receiving a consecutive five-year jail sentence for each. He had denied all charges.

An ethnic Hutu, Bizimungu became president when the ruling Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) took power in 1994 after the genocide in which extremists from the Hutu majority butchered 800 000 Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus.

Paul Kagame, whose Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Army ended the hundred days of slaughter, was vice-president.

The double-act of Bizimungu, a French-speaking Hutu, and Kagame, an English-speaking Tutsi, was intended to symbolise post-genocide reconciliation.

However, their relationship soured, and in March 2000, Bizimungu resigned after falling out with top RPF members.


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